ANKENY, Iowa – Former Vice President Mike Pence said that while trust in the electoral process needs to be rebuilt, election reforms must happen at the state level.
His remarks came during the Northsides Conservatives Club meeting in Ankeny on Wednesday morning, part of a three-day campaign swing in Iowa, answering a final question, asked by former State Rep. Carmine Boal of Ankeny.
“We have got to restore public confidence in the integrity of our elections, but we also have got to stand on first principles and the Constitution of the United States,” Pence said. “Under our constitution, states conduct elections.”
Iowa’s election reform legislation signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds in 2021 made significant changes to Iowa’s election law, including reducing Election Day voting hours and shortening the early voting period.
Pence said the efforts to “nationalize elections” was one of the first things he spoke out against after leaving the White House.
“I will continue to champion election reform, election integrity reform, at the state level,” he stated.
Without mentioning his name, Pence criticized Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy for suggesting the former vice president had the ability to delay certification of the 2020 presidential election, but also put forth a national election reform plan.
“You never want Washington, D.C., stepping in telling Iowa how to run their elections,” he said.
Pence said the federal government does have a role in encourging election reforms.
“The first thing is you stand on the Constitution. I will always believe on that fateful day two-and-a-half years ago, I did my duty under the constitution. I understand disappointment in the election, remember, I was on the ballot, but the constitution made it clear that my job as Vice President was to preside over a joint session of Congress where, once court cases were done, recounts were done, and Congress could hear their objections, the job was to open and count electoral votes; no more, no less. I believe by God’s grace that I did my duty that day,” he argued.
In defending the constitution, Pence said the president needs to defend the principle of state-based elections.
He noted the federal government can provide “resources, not red tape.”
Pence said he would like to provide resources to state leaders for things such as modernizing their systems, returning to single-day voting, and oother steps that would restore public confidence in elections, such as, voter ID.
“I think you need to have a (government-issued) picture ID in order to vote,” he said to applause. “And the way you encourage that is to provide resources to states to help implement those policies.”
“The way to restore public confidence is to give states the wherewithal to have the debates within their own states to determine the ways you all can restore public confidence to the extent it is eroded here. I think Iowa knows how to conduct elections and I think Indiana does, but there are some states that have already taken steps to improve voter integrity, and I believe providing those states with resources they will be able to do that,” Pence argued.